Identification of Zfp393, a germ cell-specific gene encoding a novel zinc finger protein

Mech Dev. 2002 Oct;118(1-2):233-9. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4773(02)00258-7.


Using the digital differential display program of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, we identified a contig of expression sequence tags (ESTs) which were unique to ovary, testis, and egg libraries. The full-length cDNA of this transcript was deduced and further confirmed by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The cDNA encodes a novel protein of 341 amino acids with a nuclear localization signal. The carboxyl-terminus of the protein contains three C2H2 zinc fingers, and the NH(2)-terminus is proline and serine-rich. Based on the conserved zinc finger motifs, we have termed this novel protein as zinc finger protein 393 (ZFP393). Northern blot and RT-PCR analyses revealed that Zfp393 mRNA was exclusively expressed in testis and ovary. The expression sites were further localized by in situ hybridization to step 3-8 spermatids in testis and growing oocytes in ovary. The Zfp393 gene consists of three exons spanning approximately 8 kb on the distal part of mouse chromosome 4. The carboxyl-terminal zinc finger region is highly homologous to several zinc finger-containing proteins, but no proteins were found to share sequence similarity with the NH(2)-terminal region of ZFP393. Genomic database mining and Southern blot analysis indicate that Zfp393 is a single copy gene. We hypothesize that ZFP393 functions as a germ cell-specific transcription factor that plays important roles in spermatid differentiation and oocyte development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA, Complementary / metabolism
  • Exons
  • Expressed Sequence Tags
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Ovary / embryology
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis / embryology
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Zinc Fingers*


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Klf17 protein, mouse
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF508984